Talent Management 101

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Use Talent Management Best Practices to Evaluate and Develop Your Workforce.

Talent Reviews

Learn to Manage Your Talent Proactively

Align employees to organizational values and opportunities, create personalized development plans, and use succession planning to ensure the right people are in the right place to drive your company forward.

According to Wikipedia (the best definition source out there in the world of google) talent management is attracting highly skilled workers and “developing and retaining current workers to meet current and future business objectives.” As the article calls out, “companies engaging in a talent management strategy shift the responsibility of employees from the HR department to all managers throughout the organization.”

HR is a lead player in working with senior leadership to create the talent management framework; however, ALL managers must take accountability for evaluating and developing their direct reports. Thus, training and organizational education is a key part of a talent management strategy.

Additionally, talent management goes hand in hand with recruiting so you can acquire the right talent to fill existing skill gaps. Talent management is increasingly a point of differentiation as happier employees are more productive and it helps you keep your high performers/high potentials happy and not seeking (or being open) to other opportunities.

The economy is picking up and the market for strong talent is getting hotter than ever. Many companies are failing to benchmark their talent, create guidelines for talent management development, and build succession plans for top performers. This puts your talent at risk when other’s come calling and puts you in reactive mode dealing with counter offers or potentially being too late in the game to keep high performers.

Use These Simple 7 Steps to Lead Talent Management for Your Organization:

Step 1: Determine Benchmarks for Talent

What are the key competencies involved in each role? At which level do you want each manager (based on title) to be an expert? Competency mapping is an exercise in itself that takes time. Bring in the experts to help where needed!

Step 2: Create a Talent Management Framework

Make a companywide framework around succession planning by creating guidelines for promotions, bonuses, talent reviews, and learning and development plans. Consistency among leaders and groups is very important.

Step 3: Host Annual Talent Reviews

HR should host talent reviews by working with senior managers to bench mark employees (aka your talent) and identify the top performers/high potential candidates. Ensure that all managers are aligned.

There are many tools/processes/templates out there to help you with this process. I personally like the 9 box model that plots employees on a grid based on performance versus potential.

Talent reviews should be cascading meetings from a team leader, to a VP with multiple leaders to allow comparisons among talent from multiple teams and have a consistent evaluation among all employees. Start with your most senior managers and work your way through each level. HR should manage these conversations.

Step 4: Create Personalized Development Plans

Coach your managers to talk with their employees about their development plans.

Create 1-3 year development plans personalized for each employee. Strategies are required to ensure high potential talent gain additional exposure, opportunities based on their long term potential to grow them into your company’s future leaders. Templates, training, and education is very important at this step as some managers may be leading high potential candidates but they themselves might be more a “steady Eddie” – also people important to keep happy and developed.

Step 5: Put Succession Into Action

When new business is secured or a promotion is justified, ensure that you look to those ready and willing candidates who have the right skills & the right aptitude to move into the role. Base your promotions on fit and talent versus things like tenure.

Step 6: Complete Talent Reviews Annually

Complete your talent review process annually to revisit how you are doing on your strategy and re-evaluate your team’s growth over the past year.

Step 7: Repeat Repeat Repeat

Remember that Executive buy in, training/development of your managers and support from a strong HR Talent Lead is key to lead all of the change management necessary. This is different way of thinking and thus this will take time. Ensure you have alignment between HR and your Executive to develop the organizational talent management strategy and manage this change for your organization.

There are many assessments/processes out there to support your talent management strategy. Remember to use tools and research research research! Have a plan and then work that plan.


For those of you with existing talent management strategies, what is working? What have you learned? What would you do differently? For those just starting, how are you doing in your planning?

Chelsea Newton
Chelsea is known as a dynamic and engaging talent consultant and professional speaker. As a Certified Executive Coach, she is extremely passionate about helping people realize both their goals and full potential. Chelsea has worked in 12 countries around the world helping Fortune 500 companies recruit, train, develop, and motivate top talent using cutting edge communication techniques and social media. She is currently developing top talent in the oil sands and speaking across Canada as the founder of Talent Formula.

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